Photokina 2014 highlights

North Carolina State University

NC State's self-healing elastic electrical wire

Last month, we heard about how a team led by North Carolina State University’s Dr. Michael Dickey had created an electrical wire that could be stretched up to eight times its regular length ... and still carry a current. This was possible thanks to a conductive liquid metal alloy of gallium and indium, contained inside the wire’s elastic polymer outer housing. Now, Dickey's team has developed a new wire that not only can be stretched, but that will heal itself when severed.  Read More

A microscope image of NC State's nanofiber-studded silicone

For several years now, scientists have been exploring the use of patches of arrayed microneedles as a means of “injecting” medication through the skin. Researchers at North Carolina State University are now working on something similar, but at a much smaller scale – they're developing tiny needle-covered balloons, to deliver medication to individual cells.  Read More

One of NC State's stretchable conductive wires being put to the test

Things like earbud cords have a nasty way of getting hooked on things and breaking. Such incidences may become a lot less common, however, as scientists from North Carolina State University have created conductive wires that stay intact even when stretched up to eight times their regular length.  Read More

NC State researchers say WiFox software can improve data throughput by up to 700 percent (...

Researchers at North Caroline State University have come up with a new tool to speed up public Wi-Fi hotspots. The researchers say that WiFox software can improve data throughput by up to 700 percent and could be packaged as an update to existing networks.  Read More

The ribbon-like material being wound onto a spool, while being sprayed with polymer and st...

When people need a material that’s strong yet lightweight, they usually look to carbon fiber. In the near future, however, they may instead choose to go with composite materials made from stretched carbon nanotubes. These materials could theoretically offer the same strength as carbon fiber at one-tenth the weight, or the same weight at ten times the strength. Researchers from North Carolina State University have recently succeeded in creating such a composite.  Read More

The GeS 'nanoflowers' have petals only 20-30 nanometers thick, and provide a large surface...

Researchers have already turned to the humble sunflower for inspiration to design more efficient Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plant layouts, and now a team from North Carolina State University has developed a “nanoflower” structure out of germanium sulfide (GeS) that shows great promise for use in energy-storage devices and more efficient solar cells. The secret is the material's ultrathin petals that provide a large surface area in only a small amount of space.  Read More

Scientists from North Carolina State University are working on remotely controlable sensor...

Much to the annoyance of home-owners everywhere, cockroaches are amazingly tough, and they’re able to squeeze into remarkably small spaces. These are some of the same qualities that researchers would like to see in tiny reconnaissance robots that could perform tasks such as searching earthquake-damaged buildings for survivors. Such adaptable, robust mini-robots would be quite challenging to create, however. A team of scientists from North Carolina State University are working on an alternative – sensor-equipped real cockroaches that are remotely controlled by human operators.  Read More

The prototype picoprojector, which incorporates the new polarizing technology (Photo: Imag...

Liquid crystal video projectors could be getting smaller, more energy-efficient, and less expensive. Currently, such devices require polarized light for the projection of images. Unfortunately, conventional LEDs only produce unpolarized light. While an optical filter is typically used to polarize it, the polarization process wastes over 50 percent of the original light, converting it into heat instead of allowing it to pass through. That heat, in turn, must be dissipated using a noisy, power-consuming fan. Now, however, researchers have created a new polarizing system that allows almost 90 percent of the LED light to be converted to usable, polarized light.  Read More

A team of scientists have created elastic conductors using silver nanowires, which are sai...

Earlier this year, a team led by North Carolina State University’s Dr. Yong Zhu reported success in creating elastic conductors made from carbon nanotubes. Such conductors could be used in stretchable electronics, which could in turn find use in things like bendable displays, smart fabrics, or even touch-sensitive robot skin. Now, he has made some more elastic conductors, but this time using silver nanowires – according to Zhu, they offer some big advantages over carbon nanotubes.  Read More

Using what they call the 'nanoscale sandwich' technique, researchers have created ultra-th...

We certainly hear a lot about solar cells that are able to convert larger and larger percentages of the sun’s energy into electricity. That’s all very well and good, but if those more-efficient solar cells are too expensive, they will still ultimately prove impractical for everyday use. Researchers from North Carolina State University, however, have found a way of creating “ultra-thin” solar cells that should create just as much electricity as their thicker siblings, but at a lower cost.  Read More

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